Cuomo’s L train play could be brilliant — or a disaster

Gov. Andrew Cuomo put the lie Thursday to his personal pretense that he doesn’t run the subways. And if his newest name performs out, lots of of hundreds of L-train commuters will be glad of it.

The gov abruptly introduced that the MTA has “agreed” to a large last-minute shift in how you can restore the L’s Superstorm Sandy-damaged tunnel between Brooklyn and Manhattan.

The long-planned, much-dreaded 15-month shutdown that was to begin April 27 is off. Instead, new expertise will let work proceed in off-peak hours — with the entire undertaking doubtlessly not taking for much longer.

It’s a daring transfer: The MTA had engaged totally with the general public earlier than deciding on its plan. Straphangers clearly most well-liked the shutdown to the one obvious different, a far longer interval of significantly lowered service.

Most contracts for the undertaking had been signed, and the MTA and the town Department of Transportation had accomplished huge prep work for the shutdown. Businesses had moved to keep away from the disruption, whereas landlords alongside the L gave main lease reductions to tenants who renewed their leases.

Then got here the gov’s shock.

To be truthful, Cuomo gave discover final month that he was trying arduous for options. While “not holding out hope” after his high-profile tour of the L tunnel, he clearly talked about the opportunity of “a totally different theory of how this can be done — new materials, new engineering techniques, etc.”

And that’s what he simply introduced: use of latest supplies to cowl the tunnel’s “benchwall,” reasonably than changing all 32,000 ft of it, plus suspending cables on the prime of the tunnel reasonably than embedding them within the wall.

He has top-notch engineering expertise, together with Columbia’s Mary Boyce, backing the shift. But the proof will be within the doing. Will the skin specialists show appropriate?

Even Cuomo received’t promise that the work will get accomplished in beneath 20 months. And he clearly didn’t give the professionals on the MTA any alternative in regards to the change.

Maybe the gov has simply slapped down bureaucrats who weren’t being imaginative sufficient to keep away from main disruptions for commuters. Or possibly that is one other of these crowd-pleasing Cuomo schemes that wind up falling flat. Only time will inform.

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